Wednesday, 08 November 2017

Tech Mogul Anthony Lewandowski’s religious group, Way of the Future, wants to create an AI-based god “for the betterment of society”.

Many people believe the singularity is eminent, the hypothesis that one day machines will be so smart that they will overcome human capabilities. And multimillionaire Anthony Lewandowski is preparing for that day, by creating an AI-based deity for people to worship.

In September 2015, Anthony Lewandowski, founded a religious organization, a church if you will, called Way of the Future. It’s purpose to state filings, is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence, and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”

Way of the Future has not filed any forms with the IRS to qualify as a tax-exempt religious organization, but it has submitted documents with California that reveal Levandowski as the group’s CEO and president.

Anthony Lewandowski is at the heart of the trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company. According to Wired, “In February, Waymo?—?the company Google’s autonomous car project turned into?—?filed a lawsuit against Uber. In its complaint, Waymo says that Levandowski tried to use stealthy startups and high-tech tricks to take cash, expertise, and secrets from Google, with the aim of replicating its vehicle technology at arch-rival Uber. Waymo is seeking damages of nearly $1.9 billion?—?almost half of Google’s (previously unreported) $4.5 billion valuation of the entire self-driving division. Uber denies any wrongdoing.”

Naturally, Lewandowski believes in the singularity, since after all he was very instrumental in the development and rollout of autonomous vehicles for both Google (now Waymo) and Uber.

Futurists look at this as a very exciting outcome to human capabilities, that would let us integrate with machines, thus discovering new possibilities, like being able to achieve digital immortality by uploading copies of our brains to machines. But to many others, this possibility and system would pose a great threat and crisis to humanity.

Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk constantly speak against this possible system. “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” Musk said at a conference in 2014. “In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like?—?yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”

Elon Musk has also spoken against the possible creation of an artificial intelligence god that humans could worship by reacting to a VentureBeat article discussing Lewandowski’s intentions, with the phrase, “on the list of people who should absolutely *not* be allowed to develop digital superintelligence”.

 

In this article it is stated that this is outcome is not only possible but highley likely.

“Teaching humans about religious education is similar to the way we teach knowledge to machines: repetition of many examples that are versions of a concept you want the machine to learn,” Vince Lynch, the founder of AI company IV.AI, told VentureBeat.

He added: “The concept of teaching a machine to learn … and then teaching it to teach … (or write AI) isn’t so different from the concept of a holy trinity or a being achieving enlightenment after many lessons learned with varying levels of success and failure.”

But other experts completely brush off this idea. Vincent Jacques who runs a company called ChainTrade that uses AI to analyze blockchain states that, “It would be extremely dangerous to have an all-knowing, thinking AI being someday.”

He adds that, “All computer programs, including AI programs, are built for a specific and narrow purpose: win a chess game, win a go game, reduce an electricity bill etc. The computer logic, even if it is advanced AI, doesn’t play well with a general will and general thinking capability that could at the same time design military strategies, marketing strategies, and learn how to play chess from scratch. For this reason, I’m not really scared of a potential super-thinker that could overthrow us one day?—?I believe that the inventive and innovative part will always be missing.”

But let’s state for the sake of the argument that this AI deity is actually not that far-fetched, the question here is if people would actually worship it. In my opinion, a lot of people would. Although this worship would be similar to an actual expression of faith or transcendence, since a lot of essential components would be missing, people would trust such a thing to guide their lives, and assist them in all the ways possible. Humans tend to trust and obey things that seem more powerful than ourselves, SIRI, the GPS in your car, and Google search immediately come to mind.

On an intellectual level, even on a practical level people might find this deity worthy of trust and worship, but this relationship would completely lack personal, emotional, and psychological aspects people try to search for in faith. The relationship would be totally cold and impersonal, lacking the components of love and compassion.

For now, the possibility of an AI god is far-fetched, but if it does actually emerge one day, a lot of philosophical, especially ethical questions would come to play, in fear of human beings playing with something that would actually end humanity as we know it.

This article was originally published on Situation Online.

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